M’boro TAFE campus faces closure as buildings go unused
JOBS are expected to be cut from Wide Bay TAFE campuses and Maryborough's existing facility faces closure, with the organisation admitting about 80% of its buildings across the region are not being fully used.
TAFE Queensland East Coast general manager Paul Wilson said while the organisation was committed to providing ongoing classroom training in Maryborough, he admitted the current campus might be shut down, with alternate locations under investigation.
Mr Wilson said existing facilities were significantly larger than required and staff cuts would be needed if revenue didn't improve - but job loss numbers were yet to be confirmed.
"It is likely that trades training in the Fraser Coast area will be consolidated at one location rather than trying to maintain the current three (Maryborough, Hervey Bay, and Gympie) to complement our other campuses at Nambour and Bundaberg," Mr Wilson said.
Fraser Coast union officials have slammed the cuts, describing them as a disgrace.
Queensland Teachers Union Wide Bay organiser Scott Welch said a loss of jobs for TAFE teachers would be horrible but the greater tragedy was the diminished TAFE and education options for Fraser Coast students.
He said the downsizing was the result of organised and systematic withdrawal of support for TAFE by the State Government.
Mr Welch said TAFE courses had risen in price, adding an additional deterrence to students in low socio-economic areas.
"Students who would be attending aren't," he said.
"I think it has to matter to people on the Fraser Coast ... the only answer to social mobility on the Fraser Coast is through education."
Local Together Union representative Ian Barber said Maryborough had a proud history of trades and the potential loss of trades-training from the city could worsen the regions high youth unemployment.
"There was (once) the demand, what's happened to cause this demand to stop?"